“The 5 Love Languages of Children”
By Gary Chapman, PhD & Ross Campbell, MD
Do you ever have a thing that you’ve heard mentioned once, and then it seems to keep popping up everywhere you go?
For me that was the concept of Love Languages. I first learned of this concept when speaking with a trusted confident. I was having some difficulty navigating my current reality: I was feeling lost, stuck, alone and on empty. She mentioned The 5 Love Languages and we briefly discussed them. I even went home and looked it up and found a short quiz to determine what my primary love languages are (I have 2…quality time and gifts).
After a few days, life moved on and I forgot all about it. That was until about a month ago when someone at work mentioned The 5 Love Languages. Then it came up again two or three more times. Well, since it came recurring like that, I decided to carve out time to give it my full attention.
I’m going to pause here for a moment for a side note…
I love to read. I love books. I have a thirst for knowledge. However, I don’t have that much time to sit down and focus on a book. But I do have a commute to and from work…so enter audio books! This book I did not physically “read” but I listened over the course of a few days during my drive. And, I’m so glad I found time to read/listen to it. I do believe it’s concepts have the potential to change my life and my family.
Now, back to the book review of The 5 Love Languages of Children…
The concept is that every person has a primary Love Language. When you speak that person’s Love Language, you “fill their love tank”, at least that’s what the book’s author said.
What are The Five Love Languages?
The 5 Love Languages are:
- Physical Touch
- Quality Time
- Acts of Service
- Words of Affirmation
This book took the 5 Love Languages and applied them to parenting and raising children. Not just infants or young children either, but teenagers and adult children as well.
Well, let me tell you, I have started to practice some of the things I’ve learned with my own family with some incredible results so far.
For example, I’m fairly confident that my daughter’s primary love language is physical touch. She loves to cuddle, hug, run up and jump, follow, cling, and just about anything else you can imagine to stay in contact with me or my husband (or her grandma and the babysitter for that matter).
For a long time, it would bug the heck out of me. I am a person who likes her physical space. I just could not understand why she always needed to be touching me and crowding me.
Well, then I figured out: This is how she feels loved. She needs that physical connection and touch and I was pushing her away. Major light bulb moment…give her what she’s craving to make her feel loved and she will stop “bugging me”.
So, now I make it a point to give her a full contact hug and squeeze when she or I leave or come back. I hold her tight for as long as it takes until I feel her body relax against mine. I also used to struggle to get her into bed and relaxed for sleep. Now after I read to her and tuck her in. I stroke her hair and rub her face, shoulder and back. It’s like magic, she immediately starts yawning and melting into her pillow. Bedtime struggles are vanishing. She eagerly bounds into bed because she knows that her love tank is going to be filled with that loving physical contact that she craves.
It also used to annoy me that my daughter did not value gifts that were given to her. I would spend a long time searching and researching the perfect gift to give to her. She would open it and be excited to play with it for a few minutes. Then it would be set aside (or tossed on the floor) and I would feel hurt and get upset. Turns out she and I do not speak the same love language. Gifts is one of my primary love languages, not hers. So while she gets excited for a present and will say “thank you”, this does not fill up her love tank the same way it does mine.
Again realizing this was a huge mommy win. It has cut my frustration way down. I still research the most perfect gift to give her, but I try to look the other way when she tosses it to the side after a few short moments of play time. Instead, I scoop her up into a big bear hug and twirl her around the room, while she giggles in delight.
I am anxious to figure out my toddler’s love language. The author says that it can be difficult to determine in very young children (under age 5), so it is best to speak all 5 languages to them.
Physical touch is easy for young children. My son gets a little contact every time he gets his diaper changed, gets a bath, and even when he gets dressed (or undressed). Quality time is often easy to come by as well. Toddlers and preschoolers require a lot of extra assistance with daily tasks. Bath time can easily become quality time with a toddler who enjoys splashing in the warm, soapy water. Buy him a new bubble wand. Help him reach a desired toy that has fallen behind the sofa. Clap and tell him he’s as “big boy”. These little things will help to fill a toddler’s love tank up (and maybe help to lower the tantrum threshold…)
Trust me when I tell you that this book is worth your time and attention. It is changing my parenting way and helping to strengthen my connection with my children.
These concepts of The 5 Love Languages can be applied to other relationships as well. I am eager to discover what my husband’s primary love language is so that we can better “speak” to each other.
Check out the book: The 5 Love Languages of Children, By Gary Chapman, PhD & Ross Campbell, MD. And be sure to leave me a comment with your thoughts on The 5 Love Languages.